A man preparing for retirement says he’s a victim of “misplaced trust and deception" after giving his girlfriend a second chance – and losing more than $20,000 as a consequence.
The man was in court as his former partner, Audrea Marie Meyok, pleaded guilty this week to theft over $5,000 and two counts of violating court orders. She was sentenced to 30 days in jail and one year's probation, with an order to repay the money.
Meyok, 36, had stolen from the man's credit card two years earlier, the court heard. However, while that first incident did not involve a lot of money, the second cost him $22,800 when Meyok stole his debit card during an alcohol-fuelled break-up in 2018.
The stolen card went unnoticed by the man from May 18, 2018 until he cancelled the card 11 days later. Meyok, originally from Kugluktuk, had waited until the man passed out before stealing the card, the court heard.
During that 11-day span, Meyok stayed at a Yellowknife hotel while using the card to purchase alcohol and party with friends.
"She was wreaking havoc in my life," the man said after Judge Garth Malakoe took the unusual step of asking him what he thought of the sentencing recommendation – which was considered to be at the low end of the spectrum.
"I don’t see any effort that she is going to pay back the money,” said the man. "She has had 18 months now to do something, anything … get a job at McDonald's.
"To me, 30 days in jail seems pretty minimal for the harm that she’s done."
Meyok declined to offer an apology when invited by the judge.
In an earlier victim impact statement, the man described a "complete sense of helplessness" at what had taken place.
"It was an embarrassment to tell my family and friends about this incident," he stated. "It made me physically ill and it took me several months to finally realize the money was gone.
"The thought of that money being wasted on drugs, hotels, and alcohol is beyond me."
The court heard the stolen money was part of a "rainy day fund" for the man's retirement. As a result of the theft, the man has had to sell his boat, take out a loan, work more years before retirement, reduce his ability to help out his daughter financially, and live a more frugal life.
The plea agreement with the 30-day jail recommendation was made as there were several weaknesses in the Crown’s case, the court heard. Meyok also had significant Gladue factors to be considered. (The longstanding Gladue principle, named after Cree woman Jamie Tanis Gladue, requires judges to take into consideration unique systemic or background factors facing Indigenous peoples in order to arrive at an appropriate sentence.)
A pre-sentence report stated Meyok had a difficult upbringing in Kugluktuk. Her mother was a residential school survivor and her father was killed in a fire when she was very young. She recalls having to step around people passed out from a night of partying as she got herself ready for school. She was sexually abused by one of her mother’s boyfriends. Her sister committed suicide in Grade 9.
Years later, Meyok moved to Yellowknife to “start over” after miscarrying following an assault by her then-boyfriend.
Since being arrested, the court heard she is trying to stay sober and is attending the Tree of Peace regularly.
Taking into account her pre-trial custody, Meyok has about nine days left to serve. She was not given a time-frame in which to repay her victim.